Start: Mexico Finish: Playa del Carmen
Physical rating: Low
Special diets catered: Vegetarians
Tour code: QVKD
Group size: 1 - 12
Tour operated in:
Extra tourhub saving: $74
Raise a margarita glass to the colourful beauty and fiery flavours of Mexico. Discover the culture and landscapes of this fascinating country on a trip that takes you from Mexico City to Playa del Carmen – with some enticing stops along the way. Discover Maya history and culture at the incredible Chichen Itza ruins and visit indigenous communities near the charming San Cristobal de las Casas. Indulge in a feast of delicious local food, with a chance to learn some cooking skills of your own. Snorkel in the brilliant Caribbean waters, laze on white sands and stroll through lively marketplaces. Waterfalls and mountains await you, and a host of museums, churches and archaeological sites will be sure to give you a taste of Mexico’s rich cultural heritage.
Location: Mexico City
Arrive at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport and be transferred to your hotel. A complimentary transfer is included with your trip. Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised. Settle in and, if you have time, take a stroll to get a feel for this vibrant and rapidly growing capital where the ancient and modern collide. You'll meet your leader and other members of your group this evening for a welcome meeting at 6 pm; the place of the meeting can be found at the hotel reception. This meeting will be followed by an optional group dinner at a nearby restaurant.Included Activities:-Complimentary Airport Arrival TransferOptional Activities:-Mexico City - Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) (entrance fee) (Closed Mondays)
Enjoy a guided city tour of Mexico City. You'll visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, Zocalo, National Palace and Museum of Anthropology. After that, the day is yours to spend as you please. The Leon Trotsky and Frida Kahlo (La Casa Azul) museums are two popular sights worth checking as an optional activity. Trotsky, having come off second-best to Stalin in the race to the helm during the Soviet era, was expelled and found refuge in Mexico City where he was eventually murdered, while Frida Kahlo is perhaps the most renowned Mexican artist in history. Both of which can be reached by Uber. Otherwise, just outside of the city, the colourful Xochimilco gardens and canals are especially fun on weekends.Included Activities:-Mexico City - National Museum of Anthropology (entrance fee) (Closed Mondays)-Mexico City - Leader-led City Tour of Historic Center-Mexico City - Diego Rivera Murals in the National Palace (entrance fee)-Mexico City - Metropolitan Cathedral (entrance fee)Optional Activities:-Mexico City - Frida Kahlo Museum (entrance fee)-Mexico City - Leon Trotsky Museum (entrance fee)-Mexico City - Boat ride through Floating Gardens of Xochimilco (Approx. per boat per hour)
Location: San Juan Teotihuacán, Oaxaca
Leaving the hotel at 8 am, today you'll visit the Teotihuacan ruins, about 50 kilometres northeast of Mexico City (1.5 hour drive). Discover the amazing ruins known as the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon which dominate the skyline. This was once one of the biggest cities in the world. Stroll down ‘The Avenue of the Dead’ and see the clues to what life was like here nearly 2000 years ago. Continue to Oaxaca (5 hours) learning some Spanish phrases from your leader on the way. This beautiful colonial city is known for its cuisine and lively art scene, but it's also a great place to browse for traditional Mexican handicrafts, with descendants of the Zapotec and Mixtec selling an array of bright woven blankets and shawls. Upon arrival, your leader will take you on a short walk around the hotel to help orientate you, and to point out useful services such as bus stops or ATMs.Included Activities:-Teotihuacan - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)-Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson-Oaxaca - Leader-led Orientation Walk
Location: Mitla, Oaxaca
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Oaxaca has much to offer travellers so today you’ll take a full day tour of the city and its surrounds, including lunch at a local family’s home. Be ready at 8 am for your local guide will take you to the Mitla ruins, which were once the religious centre for the Zapotec. Sip on the famous, tequila-like local liquor, mezcal, at a mezcal factory and visit the Tule Tree, a 1500-year-old tree that's over 11 metres in girth. Returning to the hotel about 8 pm, if you still have the energy, the evening is free for you to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy Oaxaca’s nightlife.Included Activities:-Mitla - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)-Oaxaca - Guided full-day tour including the Tule Tree, a Mezcal distillery, and lunch in a Zapoteca family home
Today is a free day to explore Oaxaca at your own pace, with a range of optional activities to consider. Perhaps pay a visit to the archaeological site of Monte Alban. The Zapotec civilisation began construction of this city around 200 BC, and Olmecs and Mixtecs have inhabited it at different times. Have your camera ready to go, because up here you can get an amazing view across the three legs of the valley of Oaxaca. Or check out Hierve el Agua: a group of stunning natural rock formations and mineral pools perched high in the hills overlooking the surrounding countryside. Hierve el Agua is known for its ‘petrified’ waterfalls, where many years ago the water calcified over the rock faces and now, they resemble frozen waterfalls. Otherwise, enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the streets and take the opportunity to feast on some regional delicacies. Season depending, a folkloric ballet performance is an also a great optional activity. The Santo Domingo Cultural Centre is also worth a visit.Optional Activities:-Oaxaca - Folkloric ballet (seasonal)-Oaxaca - Cooking Class-Monte Alban - Archaeological Site (entrance fee)-Oaxaca - Santo Domingo Cultural Centre (entrance fee)-Hierve el Agua - Petrified waterfalls (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
Location: San Cristobal de las Casas
Depart Oaxaca for the airport at approximately 5.30 am, then take the 8 am flight to Tuxtla airport (1.5 hours), before driving to the charming city of San Cristobal de las Casas (approximately 1 hour). Once in 'San Cris', as it's known, take a walk and soak up the strong old-world atmosphere of this town, which is due in no small part to the grand Spanish colonial architecture, prominent indigenous cultures and winding cobblestone streets. Your leader will help orientate you with a walk around the hotel, then you are free to venture further into the city.Included Activities:-San Cristobal de las Casas - Leader-led orientation walk
Location: Chamula, San Cristobal de las Casas
This morning, your leader will take you on a walking tour of the city, passing impressive cathedrals, green plazas and countless museums. Next, head to the nearby Maya village of San Juan Chamula (30 minutes’ drive). Nestled in the highlands, this village serves as marketplaces and religious ceremonial centres for the indigenous folk who live in the surrounding hills. The local people have retained their traditional way of life and can often be seen wearing their own distinctive, colourful clothes. Journey another 15 minutes to visit the next town of Zincantan. As you explore with your leader, we'll learn more about these mostly Maya communities. Later, during free time back in San Cris, perhaps rent a bike to explore the town further.Included Activities:-San Cristobal de Las Casas - Leader-led City Tour-San Juan Chamula - Maya Church (entrance fee)-Zinacantan - Maya Church (entrance fee)Optional Activities:-San Cristobal de las casas - Bicycle rental (per hour)
The rest of your time in San Cristobal de las Casas is free for you to explore on your own. You may want to pay a visit to the Na Bolom Museum: a small museum and research centre which was the home of anthropologist and photographer Gertrude Duby-Blom and her archaeologist husband Frans Blom. While Frans explored Mayan sites all over Chiapas, Trudy studied, photographed and fought to protect the scattered Lacandon people. Today, as well as being a hotel and a museum, the house provides free accommodation to Lacandon people who make their way to San Cristobal for work, studies or medical reasons. Alternatively, you may want to visit the amber (jade) museum, which displays and sells beautifully carved items and insect- embedded pieces or venture to the Sumidero Canyon to get a dose of nature.Optional Activities:-San Cristobal de las Casas - Na Bolom Museum-San Cristobal de las Casas - Jade Museum-Sumidero Canyon - Boat Excursion (entrance and transport)
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Say goodbye to San Cristobal de Las Casas as you head for Palenque and its surrounding jungle. It will be an early start to minimise the chance of hitting road closures common in the area. There will be a stop or two to stretch your legs, before arriving (4-5 hours) at the low and wide Agua Azul Waterfalls, which flow slowly over limestone rocks. There's time for lunch and a quick dip, so remember to pack your swimsuit! Otherwise, enjoy a scenic stroll around the beautiful surroundings, before continuing to Palenque (1.5-2 hours). A group dinner is included tonight.Included Activities:-Agua Azul - Waterfall Visit (entrance fee)
Location: Palenque, Mérida
At 8 am this morning you'll drive 30 minutes to visit the archaeological site of Palenque. Located on a hilltop in an area of hot jungle, these are some of the most astounding Maya ruins in the region, dating back as far as AD600. Some of the ruins remain unexcavated and are hidden in the surrounding forest. Enjoy a 2-hour guided tour of the site and keep an ear out for the strange calls of howler monkeys as you explore this lost city. At about 11 am, take a 3-hour drive to the lunch stop. Enjoy the chance to stretch your legs as there is another 4-5 hours' drive before reaching Merida about 8 pm, the capital of the Yucatan region.Included Activities:-Merida - Leader-led Orientation Walk-Palenque - Archaeological site (Guide, Transport & Entrance fee)
Today is a free day to explore the many sights of Merida. Perhaps visit some of the museums, including the impressive Regional Anthropology Museum of the Yucatan, and stroll the city streets which are alive with art and culture. Hang out in the green and shady Plaza Grande, with the 16th-century cathedral on one side and City Hall, State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo on the other. The outdoor market is another essential visit, with an array of hammocks and Mayan replicas for sale, plus a selection of enticing local cuisine, including the dish cochinita pibil ('little pig') or the incredibly spicy El Yucateco hot sauce. If you can't visit enough Maya sites, you may want to head for the ancient ruins of Uxmal. Here you'll visit the amazing Palace of the Governors, considered by many to be the best example of classic Maya architecture. You may choose to travel west out to the coast to take a boat ride and visit the Celestun Bird Sanctuary and Biosphere Reserve. Here, near extensive beaches lined with coconut trees, you'll see a variety of coastal birds. Depending on the season (usually November to March), you may be able to witness the magnificent sight of thousands of flamingos painting a pink streak across the landscape.Optional Activities:-Merida - Uxmal Ruins tour (inc. shared transport and guide)-Merida - Fernando Garcia Ponce-Macay Contemporary Art Museum (entrance fee) - Free-Merida - Celestun Bird Sanctuary (entrance and transport)
In the afternoon, transfer by private vehicle to Izamal, a small city 1 hour’s drive from Merida. Izamal is an important pre-Columbian Maya site and your leader will take you for a guided walking tour of the city including a visit to the Convento de San Antonio de Padua, a Spanish monastery built on the site of a destroyed Maya temple in 1561. Take the opportunity to spend a lazy afternoon people-watching and soaking it all in.Included Activities:-Izamal - Convento de San Antonio de Padua (Entrance)-Izamal - Leader-led walking tour
Location: Chichén-Itzá, Playa del Carmen
Departing early, our first stop today is Chichen Itza, an hour's drive from Izamal. This is possibly the most famous Maya site in Mexico. You'll see the marvellous Temple of Kukulkan standing over the ruins and not far from the temple is the ‘ball court’, where many disputes are known to have been settled by way of a ball game that employed only the elbows, hips and wrists. Stone carvings depicting violence suggest it was not such a casual sport. Following a guided tour of the site, we'll continue to the resort town of Playa del Carmen (2 hours).Included Activities:-Chichen Itza - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport)
Location: Playa del Carmen
Take today to enjoy Playa del Carmen as you see fit. Kick back with a book, stroll along the white sands or snorkel in crystal-clear waters. Blessed with azure waters, powdery beaches and an almost European feel, Playa del Carmen is a popular resort town famed for its coral reefs. For adventures further afield, take a ferry across the turquoise seas to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving, or perhaps check out the Tulum ruins, an ancient Maya city protected against invaders by a high wall and situated on a cliff overlooking a white sandy beach. In the evening, settle in beachside and watch the world go by with a margarita in your hand or take advantage of the famous nightlife and let your salty hair down.Optional Activities:-Tulum - Archaeological Site (entrance fee, no guide)-Dos Ojos Cenote - Fresh Water Rock Pool (entrance fee with snorkelling gear & life jacket included)-Playa del Carmen - Bicycle Rental (per day)-Playa del Carmen - Ferry to Cozumel (Round-trip Ticket)
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time. If you wish to spend more time in Playa del Carmen, we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
14 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Private vehicle, Plane
Comfortable Hotel (14 nights)
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This trip will run with just one person booked on
Please speak to a medical profession regarding vaccinations before you travel
Visas are the responsibility of the traveller and vary depending on your nationality, please speak to the relevant consular or embassy regarding your travel plans. While we will not arrange a visa for you, should you need any supporting documents from the operator, we can provide these for you’
All transport while you're on the tour, including flights is included. International airfares are not included, but we can arrange these for you at an additional cost
If you wish to have a hotel list, please ask a booking agent. Please note, these are subject to change.
A tour leader will be with you throughout the trip, except for free time
We are a global company, on most of our tours we will have passengers from all over the world joining.
The trip is requires a reasonable level of fitness as you will be exploring the places you visit on foot.
Yes. All prices listed are on a twin-share basis. If you are travelling solo, you can pay the twin-share rate to be roomed with another solo traveller of the same sex. Alternatively a single supplement is available for an additional cost. Single supplements are subject to availability.
A complimentary arrival transfer is included, a departure transfer can be arranged at an additional cost
The minimum age is 15 when accompanied by an adult
Intrepid Travel has been taking travellers around the world for over 30 years
Lock your trip in with a deposit, then you just need to pay in full by 21 days prior to departure. If you cancel your trip up to 21 days before departure, you can transfer your deposit to another available trip or hold your deposit on file indefinitely (excluding Polar).
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For almost all of our trips, we offer a single supplement option for those solo travellers who wish to have their own room. Please request this when booking, and we will secure you a single supplement wherever possible. Please note, if you are booking a last-minute trip, it may be harder for us to secure a single room.
Multiple Room Types
Multiple room types available. Choose your preferred room type when you book.
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